BATTLE OF EVESHAM
King Henry III, in his efforts to subdue the reforms springing from the Provisions of Oxford of 1258, provoked a baronial faction led by Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, to the extent that civil war was only a matter of time. The Battle of Lewes (1264) had ended with negotiations which gave Simon and the Barons increased power, but the deciding factor in the struggle between reform and absolute monarchy had to wait until the Battle of Evesham in August 1265.
On 4 August, Simon de Montfort's army of 6,000 men was trapped in Evesham by a Royal army of 8,000 under Prince Edward (the future Edward I) and the Earl of Gloucester. Simon had no choice but to fight his way out. He deployed his army as a single column and charged at the junction between Edward's and Gloucester's troops on Green Hill. It was a desperate tactic, which might have succeeded, had not the cavalry wings of the Royal army swung in on de Montfort's flanks. Although the Baronial army continued to resist for some hours, the battle became a progressively bloody massacre. Both Simon and his son Henry were killed, along with some 4,000 of his soldiers.
Their field army had been destroyed, but nonetheless the surviving Barons still held their castles and the war against the King dragged on until 1267. Complete reconciliation came only 1275, when the best elements of the Provisions of Oxford were encapsulated in the Statute of Westminster. Through the actions of de Montfort and the Barons, the die was cast for the role of Parliament as adviser to the monarch, a tradition which can be traced through to present times.
The battlefield locality features two nineteenth century monuments to the battle, Leicester Tower and an obelisk, neither of which is accessible at present. A public footpath links the old A435 and the Worcester road, and from this path south of Abbey Manor Farm a view of the heart of the battlefield can be gained.
The battlefield area is subject to local plan policies BC1, CB23, H8 and EC7, all of which constrain development beyond its current extent.
Cox, D C, 1988, The Battle of Evesham. A New Account The Chronicle of Walter of Guisborough, ed. H Rothwell, (London 1967)
This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment to the Selected Sources on 10/04/2019